October’s meeting of the General Committee (GC) of Brighton Pavilion Constituency Labour Party agreed a motion reaffirming the policy of the local Labour Party (adopted last year by the former District Party) to oppose the so-called Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) which are being used to devastate our National Health Service and advance the privatisation of healthcare in this country. This builds upon previously agreed policy to support other campaigns of Sussex Defend the NHS.
STPs are presented as sensible proposals to bring together health and social care (and even some within the labour movement have been taken in) – but if you want to understand the threat which STPs pose to our NHS you can read the truth from Keep Our NHS Public and Health Campaigns Together. As expert campaigner John Lister says “an aspirational window-dressing of positive ideas camouflages the unpleasant content of STPs like a sophisticated air-freshener masking the real scent of sewage.”
A large majority of delegates at the GC caught that real scent in our nostrils and agreed that Labour representatives at every level should be doing what they can to obstruct and delay STPs (in line with the previously established policy of the Labour Party across Brighton and Hove) and that we should be consulting widely with local people in order to campaign to defend our NHS. With a failing Tory Government on the ropes, propped up in Parliament only by a dodgy deal with the DUP, everything that we can do now to obstruct and sabotage the STP plans will make it easier for an incoming Labour Government to restore a fully funded NHS entirely within the public sector.
This is the text of the motion which was agreed:
This Labour Party utterly condemns the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) now being imposed upon the NHS across the country, and deplores the implementation of the STP locally. By allowing unlimited private sector access, we believe that STP brings us much closer to US-style healthcare and is another step towards the Tories’ ultimate aim of destroying our NHS.
We note that, in April 2016, Brighton, Hove & District Labour Party resolved to “do everything we can to defend our NHS”, specifically encouraging “all Labour Party branches and members to take whatever action they can to:
- Protest against STP to elected representatives, the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the Health & Wellbeing Board (HWB), and in the media.
- Call on the CCG and the HWB to organise public meetings on STP.
- Obstruct and delay the implementation of STP where in a position to do so.”
This Labour Party believes that the participation of any Labour councillor in the implementation of the STP is in direct contradiction to this agreed policy of our local Party. Party members made it clear that, at the very least, we expected elected representatives of our Labour Party to refuse to co-operate with the STP.
This Labour Party calls on every member of the Labour Group on Brighton & Hove City Council to propose and do everything in its power to ensure that the Council:
- Establishes, and widely publicises, an immediate public consultation on the full implications of the STP.
- As part of this public consultation, makes public all proposals for any disposals of properties by the Greater Brighton Economic Board.
- Pending the organisation of this public consultation, immediately calls a halt to all activities related to the sale of properties and the implementation of the STP.
- Undertakes full impact assessments covering all aspects of the STP and its consequences locally.
This is our NHS. As the great Nye Bevan said, if we don’t have the faith to fight for it now, it will be gone forever. This fight requires all of us, everyone.